Hypoadrenia or adrenal fatigue is a medical condition that is caused by onset chronic mental, emotional, or physical stress, and infections in the body that affect the endocrine system. If left untreated, adrenal fatigue can cause extreme fatigue, weakened immune system, weight loss, decreased appetite, darkening of the skin, low blood pressure, salt cravings, low blood sugar, nausea, abdominal pain, irritability, increased allergies, muscle and bone loss, depression, and hormonal imbalances that can lower the quality of life of those affected.
While there is no medical evidence that suggests that adrenal fatigue is a real medical condition, adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s disease can be directly linked to the fatigue patients experience when the body does not produce enough hormones in the body. Patients who have Addison’s disease have an endocrine system that fails to regulate healthy body function. The body’s endocrine system is a collection glands that produces hormones that help regulate metabolism function, growth and development, tissue function, sexual functions, reproduction, sleep, and mood. Adrenal insufficiency occurs in patients when the adrenal glands located above the kidneys are damaged and cannot produce sufficient cortisol hormone. The cortisol hormone in particular helps the body maintain blood pressure, heart and blood vessel function, slow down immune system inflammatory response to fight bacteria and viruses, and regulates metabolism.
To help diagnose adrenal insufficiency, a doctor may perform blood and urine tests to determine if cortisol levels are too low and to establish a more specific cause for the symptoms. If you are diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency, the recommended treatment is to replace the specific hormones the body is not making to help the body regulate, and reduce chronic fatigue symptoms.
While it can be hard to diagnose adrenal insufficiency because fatigue is a side effect that is common in many other diseases, diagnosing of this particular condition can help prevent serious complications in the future. If left untreated, adrenal insufficiency can cause an adrenal crisis where the body reacts to the lack of hormones by lowering or increasing blood pressure that can cause cardiovascular problems, and severe pain in lower back, abdomen, and legs. Talk to your doctor to test and determine if you have adrenal fatigue due to Addison’s disease. For more information about chronic fatigue treatment and medications, visit our Fatigue Condition Page.